Practice Connect #162

27 January 2023

Welcome to this edition of Practice Connect, a fortnightly update for practice managers, nurses and practice administration staff on relevant issues, upcoming events and education.

Acknowledgement of Country 

WA Primary Health Alliance acknowledges and pays respect to the Traditional Owners and Elders of this country and recognises the significant importance of their cultural heritage, values and beliefs and how these contribute to the positive health and wellbeing of the whole community.

Throughout this newsletter, the term 'Aboriginal' is used to refer to Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people, unless stated otherwise.


Primary Sense


Over 360 practices have submitted an EOI to switch to Primary Sense – submit yours today

The pace and momentum of Primary Sense installations continue to build, with over 70 per cent of WA general practices that share data with WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA) having submitted an Expression of Interest (EOI) to switch to the easy-to-use data tool.
With one-click reporting, Primary Sense makes it quick and easy for practices to share de-identified data and meet the Practice Incentives Program Quality Improvement (PIP QI) requirements. For further information, refer to the Primary Sense and Data Sharing fact sheet.
As WAPHA’s data tool of choice, Primary Sense is fully subsidised for WA practices that share their de-identified, full population health data set. The Pen CS CAT Plus suite will no longer be subsidised and practices must purchase a licence to continue using it after 30 June 2023.
To join the growing number of practices that are switching to Primary Sense, complete and submit the online Expression of Interest (EOI) form. After your practice’s EOI has been submitted, you will receive further communication from WAPHA’s Primary Sense team with the next steps for completing the installation of the Primary Sense data tool.
To find out more about Primary Sense, visit the Primary Sense Tool Kit, email the Practice Assist team via or call 1800 2 ASSIST (1800 2 277 478).


Alcohol & Other Drugs


Empower your patients to stick to their New Year’s Resolutions

After the wrap up of the holiday season, it is common people reflect on their new year’s resolutions. Health resolutions, such as reducing alcohol or increasing physical activity are common. Empowering patients to stick to small, realistic goals, will help to shape success for patients in 2023.
Here are three practical steps to encourage your patient through their new year’s resolutions.


Set an approach, instead of an avoid

Studies have shown that approach-centered goals are more successful than avoidance goals. Encourage your patient to make approach-oriented goals, that focus on a positive desired outcome. Replace “I want to drink less” with “I will decrease my drinking in the month of February and replace my drinks with mocktails for one month”.

Set SMART Goals

SMART goals are defined as being ‘specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time sensitive.’ Encourage your patients to make goals that are specific and precise, to ensure that the outcome is realistic.


Patients may often dive into setting New Year’s Resolutions without proper mental or physical preparation. By supporting patients to prepare, you will empower them to stick to their goals. Two ways to prepare may be:

  • Ditch the perfectionism mindset. Skipping 1-2 days of the goal does not mean it is out of the window completely. Reassure your patient that small consistent changes over a long period of time will create results.
  • Encourage patients to book routine medical checks, to ensure a patient’s baseline health is in check.

Want to know current available alcohol & other drug training opportunities, services, and resources for GPs? Please view the extensive list below.

Training Opportunities:

RACGP Training – Online modules available via gplearning
AOD – Essential Skills Training
AOD – GP-led treatment, management and self-care  
AOD – Facilitating behaviour change
AOD – At Risk Groups- Trauma 

Find a Communities of Practice:

WAPHA – Alcohol & Other Drug Network A Project ECHO Initiative
Register here for the entire series, drop into any session your available
  Session 10 – Supporting patients’ stick to New Years’ Resolutions
Thursday 24 February 2023, 6 – 7:30pm
Register here
  Session 11AOD and Pregnancy
With special guest speakers Dr Shani  Mccaulay – RACGP AOD
GP Education Program; and Lauren Traniaou – Clinical Nurse Midwife Consultant, NMHS
Thursday 23 March 2023, 6 – 7:30pm
Register here
  Session 12Cannabis
Thursday 28 April 2023, 6 – 7:30pm
Register here

AOD Resources and Services for GPs:

Drug and alcohol clinical advisory service (DACAS)
6553 0520 8am-8pm access to AOD specialist advice
  Next Step
On call doctor after hours (clinicians only) - 9442 5042 Specialist
AOD advice after 8pm, weekdays, weekends and public holidays
  Medicare prescription shopper service
1800 631 181, phone call requires a yes / no answer
  My Health Record
  Medicines and Poisons Regulation Branch
9222 6883
  HealthPathways WA website
For login details- contact HealthPathways via or email



HealthPathways WA – Alcohol and Other Drugs

HealthPathways WA have developed a suite of Alcohol and Other Drugs pathways that contain region specific information on patient assessment, management, and referral pathways to assist clinicians in navigating patients through the complex primary, community, and acute health care system in Western Australia. These clinical pathways include:

For service information see the following request pages which provide referral information for health professionals to refer patients into: 
*Disclaimer: Please note some of these clinical pathways and request pages are currently being reviewed.

To gain access, you can request a login via the HealthPathways WA Project Site and complete the ‘Request a login’ form, or email the team at You can use the search bar, located at the top of the webpage, or the left-hand navigation panel to search for information. To provide feedback email the HealthPathways team at, or use the “Send Feedback” button at the bottom of each page on the site.


COVID-19 Updates


GP-led Respiratory Clinic Panel (GPRCP) tender deadline extended 

The deadline for enquires and tender submissions to participate in the Australian Government's new GP-led Respiratory Clinic Panel (GPRCP) initiative has been extended. Tenders are open to all accredited general practices.

Key dates

Activity Deadline
Enquiry Cut-Off Date (including extension request) 2pm AEDT, Thursday, 2 February 2023
Closing Date (for responses) 2pm AEDT, Thursday, 9 February 2023
Commencement of Panel March 2023 (no change)

The GPRCP initiative will be implemented from March 2023 to ensure sufficient surge capacity is in place to respond to subsequent COVID-19 waves or any other future respiratory health emergencies. 

Under this new panel arrangement, up to 150 existing, accredited primary care practices nationally, which may include former GP Respiratory Clinics, if they meet the standard criteria to participate, would be held in reserve to be activated as needed in response to the emergence of another COVID-19 wave or other major heath respiratory emergency. 

During periods of activation, GPRCP participants will be provided access to a new MBS Item (bulk-billed) for each respiratory consultation. Upon activation, they will also be eligible to claim a Practice Incentive Payment (PIP) equivalent to their PIP QI payment per 3-month period.  

Participating clinics will be able to provide their usual services through standard MBS Items while activated, they will not be constrained to only providing services under the GPRCP.

See how to register and full tender details here


VOC Operating Hours

Changes to ​VOC Operating Hours 2023

Monday-Friday 8.30am - 7.00pm AEDT
Saturday 9.00am - 3.00pm AEDT


General practices support vulnerable populations with COVID-19 vaccinations

In 2022, the Department of Health and Aged Care Vulnerable Populations program identified that culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities were having difficulty accessing COVID-19 information and vaccinations. To assist with increasing access, WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA) engaged with general practices in areas with lower vaccination rates to offer funding for activities. 
WAPHA COVID-19 Support Portfolio Coordinator, Ashley-Jane Dow, explained that Nova Medical Centre in Stirling was one of the first practices to get involved and support their CALD patients.
“Nova Medical Centre in Stirling provided extra COVID-19 vaccination clinics initially targeting their Italian, Macedonian, Punjabi and Mandarin patient population for 10 weeks from 25 April 2022. When the Department of Health and Aged Care approved additional booster doses, the practice took the opportunity to continue to offer COVID-19 vaccines to their CALD patients,” Ms Dow said.
At the same time, Nova Medical Centre in Manning came on board as well, reaching out to a range of vulnerable populations including CALD, immigrants, students, older persons and First Nations people. The practice initially provided one extra COVID-19 clinic per week and later expanded to two extra clinics per week due to increasing vaccine demand.
Nova Medical Centre in Stirling ran its extra COVID-19 vaccination activities for a total of 30 weeks and Nova Medical Centre in Manning ran its for 20 weeks. Both practices vaccinated over 1000 people, many of whom may not have otherwise had the opportunity to be vaccinated.
“In addition to the Nova Medical Centres, many other general practices contributed to the Vulnerable Populations program, identifying and engaging with numerous at-risk individuals. Their trusted relationships and willingness to assist have increased access to COVID-19 information and vaccinations for more vulnerable people,” Ms Dow said.
If you would like further information about how WAPHA can assist your practice with supporting vulnerable and CALD patients, email Practice Assist via or call 1800 2 ASSIST (1800 2 277 478).



Immunisation & Cancer Screening Updates

Rotarix Dosing and Administration Wheel – DO NOT USE

GSK has advised that some copies of their dosing and administration wheel  (Rotarix Wheel) contains errors.

All providers are advised to stop using the Rotarix Wheel and discard any copies the practice may have.
There is no issue with Rotarix vaccine itself, or the recommended schedule for administration as per the NIP or Handbook, just the Rotarix Wheel printed resource.
New GSK resources are being produced and will be distributed soon.
More information here 


SAFEVAC: Integrated Vaccine Safety and WAVSS

SAFEVAC is the Australian database for reporting of Adverse Events Following Immunisation (AEFI) and associated clinical visits.
The Western Australian Vaccine Safety Surveillance (WAVSS) system is the reporting service in WA for any significant adverse events following immunisations (AEFI). It is now part of the national reporting hub called SAFEVAC.

WAVSS provides expert immunisation safety advice to reporters and healthcare workers, and can provide clinical services for children and adults who have experienced an AEFI.
To learn more or report an adverse event following a vaccination click here



Practice Updates

WAPHA staff visit newly opened The Garden Family Medical Clinic

Congratulations to Dr Andrew Leech and team for the opening of their new practice in Murdoch, The Garden Family Medical Clinic. We recently had the pleasure of visiting the practice and meeting the team.

Upon entering the practice, you are welcomed by a calming and innovative design. With an outdoor courtyard garden positioned at the heart of practice, this offers a place for patients to sit and young children to explore. All practicing rooms surround the garden providing a comfortable setting for providing care.

The practice has an inspiring team-based approach, with a vision to transform healthcare to improve lives through progressive and innovative care. Focusing on education and digital enhancements to reduce the administrative burden often experienced in general practice and improving systems.

The multi-disciplinary team includes doctors, nurses, psychologists, Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) nurses, healthcare assistants, diabetes educator and pathologist.

An allied health centre is positioned directly across from the practice, offering accessible and convenient care options for their patients including physiotherapy, exercise physiologists and podiatrists.  

"We have been so excited to trial a new way of running a General Practice. It is so important to keep evolving so that we can maintain the standards that patients expect of us, but also provide a positive team culture and experience for all those working with us. Through innovation and feedback, we have tried to minimise paperwork for our doctors, nurses and healthcare assistants. We have developed an educational program featuring our own GP’s, as well as local specialists, to provide ongoing upskilling and to help our team fulfill their CPD requirements. General Practice is such a fantastic career, but this joy and love of working can easily be lost in the red tape and pressure to churn through patients as quickly as possible in order to maintain adequate funding for the clinic to survive. Our model is trying to change that".  Dr Andrew Leech

The Quintuple Aim of high performing health care was evident in this new practice – patient satisfaction, population health outcomes, sustainability, workers satisfaction and health equity.  We look forward to strengthening our relationship, watching the practice grow and supporting you in what looks to be an exciting future and step for primary care.


Dr Andrew Leech - General Practitioner and Director of the Garden Family Medical Clinic (Murdoch)


ASHM funding and quality improvement opportunity

Beyond the C is a national partnership program with General Practice, to find people who may be living with hepatitis C, and to engage and connect them with care.

Beyond the C launched in early December. You are welcome to click here to watch the recording. At approx. 17mins into the video, you’ll see an excellent presentation from Derbarl Yerrigan Health Service, which participated in the pilot program.
Registering Interest. Practices can submit an EOI to participate in the program via The EOI does not commit practices to register for Beyond the C. Following the submission of the online EOI a project team member at ASHM will be in contact to discuss the next steps and answer any questions. Following registration, this includes:

  • access to the suite of resources to the Beyond the C program
  • Quality Improvement Summary Reports and tracking
  • ongoing contact and support with Lisa Holden, Practice Nurse Advisor and
  • ongoing contact with the ASHM project team
  • $1,500 incentive payment on submission of non-identified baseline, mid-point and end-point data
Identifying patients at risk of contracting Hepatitis C, not limited to and including: 
  • Lifestyle behaviours such as sharing needles and drug use equipment
  • Have had unsterile tattooing or body piercing
  • Engaging in high-risk sexual behaviour including sex workers
  • Have been infected with HIV or Hep B
  • Clinical evidence of liver disease such as persistently elevated ALT
  • Have spent time in prison
  • Immigrants or refugees from certain countries with high prevalence of Hepatitis C



New subsection 19(2) exemption for GPs practicing at regional and remote headspace services

As you may be aware, an exemption to subsection 19(2) of the Health Insurance Act 1973 was announced as part of the March 2022-23 Budget.
Currently, subsection 19(2) prohibits the payment of Medicare benefits where other government funding is provided for that service. This means that GPs cannot bill Medicare for a service at the same time they are also receiving payment from headspace, which could be in the form of a salary, wage, contract or other payment arrangement.


This initiative has been designed to provide headspace services the opportunity to enhance GP remuneration using headspace grants or other funding streams to supplement eligible MBS billings. This may ease some of the challenges in attracting and retaining GPs by offering GPs access to guaranteed income in contracted arrangements including leave, superannuation, and salary packaging where GPs are salaried under this initiative.

The exemption

The exemption will permit GPs at eligible headspace services, who currently receive salaries or other payments from Lead Agencies, to also bill against 28 eligible MBS items.
Eligible headspace services are those located within Modified Monash (MM) regions MM2-MM7. Headspace services located in MM1 regions will be ineligible for this exemption.
The exemption will take effect from 1 February 2023.



Simplified process for DVA funding of medicinal cannabis

DVA has updated its Medicinal Cannabis Framework which will streamline access to funded medicinal cannabis for eligible DVA clients.

Under the updated Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) Medicinal Cannabis Framework (the Framework), general practitioners (GPs) can now seek approval of funding for medicinal cannabis without the need for a non-GP specialist’s assessment in many circumstances. Applications may be made over the phone by calling the Veterans' Affairs Pharmaceutical Advisory Centre on 1800 552 580

Learn more here



Practice Assist Tool Kit


The Practice Assist website is home to resources developed to support general practice covering a range of topics including Aboriginal Health, Accreditation, Business Management and more. 

Click through to view our resources! 



Education & Events


Unpacking Reforms: Getting Ahead of the Curve 
General Practice in a rapidly changing world - a webinar series for GPs

​Presented by WA Primary Health Alliance and Tonic Media Network
Thursday 9 February 2023 (7.00pm to 8.00pm AWST)

The biggest changes in general practice in decades are about to occur. This webinar will look at ways practices can act now to be better prepared and maybe even put themselves ahead of the game.

Join us for this critical discussion and participate in a live Q&A, hosted by Dr Norman Swan, with Drs Steve Hambleton and Walid Jammal, two highly committed GPs, who have helped forge a pathway to reform.
Dr Steve Hambleton
Dr Hambleton is a Queensland GP and former federal president of the Australian Medical Association.  He has worked in the same general practice for 33 years and is the Chief Clinical Advisor to the Australian Digital Health Agency.
Dr Walid Jammal
Dr Jammal has been a GP in Sydney for 29 years and has a keen interest in quality and safety in health care, health policy and health reform, as well as models of care in general practice including the Patient Centred Medical Home framework.
CPD Activity points are available.
View the flyer here

Register now


HealthPathways Trans, Gender Diverse and Non-Binary Health Webinar Series - 2023 

​Presented by WA Primary Health Alliance's HealthPathways WA in collaboration with the Child and Adolescent Health Service, East Metropolitan Health Service and TransFolk of WA

Following the recent launch of the ground breaking  Transgender Health and Gender Diversity HealthPathway,  WA Primary Health Alliance’s HealthPathways WA in collaboration with the Child and Adolescent Health Service, East Metropolitan Health Service and TransFolk of WA are pleased to present a three part webinar series on trans, gender diverse and non-binary (TGDNB) health. The sessions can be attended individually or as a series.

The Transgender Health and Gender Diversity pathway can be accessed here. For logon details for HealthPathways complete the ‘Request a login’ form here.

Session 1: Trans, gender diverse and non-binary health is everyone’s business
Tuesday 7 March 2023 (6.00pm to 8.00pm AWST)

This first session will provide attendees with:

A general introduction to trans, gender diverse and non-binary (TGDNB) health. This includes an overview of gender diversity including:
  • Definition of terms and language
  • An overview of TGDNB health
  • Information on creating welcoming clinical environments.
An overview of the Transgender Health and Gender Diversity HealthPathway.

Find out more and register here

Session 2: Child and adolescent Trans, gender diverse and non-binary health 
Tuesday 21 March 2023 
(6.00pm to 8.00pm AWST)

This second session will include:

  • A discussion on the role of the GP, how to assess and manage TGDNB children and adolescents, how to support families, common co-existing conditions, local referral pathways and medicolegal requirements.
  • An overview of the Transgender Health and Gender Diversity HealthPathway.
  • A GP perspective and clinical case studies.

Find out more and register here

Session 3: Adult Trans, gender diverse and non-binary health
Tuesday 4 April 2023 (6.00 to 8.00pm AWST)

The third session will include:
  • A discussion about gender identity, gender affirming hormone therapy, contraception, screening, gender affirming surgery and the role of allied health.
  • Information on prescribing, local referral pathways, care plan templates, supporting gender marker change and service information.
  • A clinical case study discussion.
  • An overview of the Transgender Health and Gender Diversity HealthPathway.
Find out more and register here


WAPHA – Alcohol & Other Drug Network A Project ECHO Initiative

Returning in the new year, we kick off 2023 with continued sessions of the Alcohol & Other Drug Network- A Project ECHO Initiative. WAPHA, along with our AOD subject matter experts, invite GPs and other allied health professionals across WA to virtually join in the sessions listed below.  Attendance to previous sessions is not a requirement.

Register here for the Alcohol & Other Drug Network - A Project ECHO Initiative  
For more information, please contact Project ECHO Officer Isobel Storey at

Session 10 – Supporting patients’ stick to New Years’ Resolutions
Thursday 24 February 2023 (6.00pm to 7:30pm AWST)
Register here
Session 11AOD and Pregnancy
With special guest speakers Dr Shani  Mccaulay – RACGP AOD
GP Education Program; and Lauren Traniaou – Clinical Nurse Midwife Consultant, NMHS
Thursday 23 March 2023  (6.00pm to 7:30pm AWST)
Register here
Session 12Cannabis
Thursday 28 April 2023  (6.00pm to 7:30pm AWST)
Register here


Other Webinars, Events & Workshops

National Preterm Birth Prevention Collaborative with Professor John Newnham
Presented by National Preterm Birth Prevention Collaborative
1 February
Airway Clearance Webinar Education session
Presented by Asthma WA
2 February
BreastScreen WA mobile visit to Esperance
Presented by BreastScreen WA
13 February to 3 March
MIA Nurse Webinar: Managing Immunotherapy Side Effects
Presented by Melanoma Institute Australia
14 February
Project ECHO Session 10: Supporting patients stick to New Year's Resolutions - Overview of Harm Minimisation
Presented by WA Primary Health Alliance
23 February
BreastScreen WA mobile visit to Mount Magnet
Presented by BreastScreen WA
24 to 28 February
Mental health and wellbeing in autistic youth and young adults during transitions
Presented by Mental Health Professionals Network
27 February
Chronic Conditions of the Foot
Presented by Benchmarque Group & WA Primary Health Alliance
3 March
Chronic Disease Care Planning
Presented by Benchmarque Group & WA Primary Health Alliance
8 March
WA Rural Health Conference 2023
Presented by Rural Health West
11 & 12 March
Chronic Conditions and Nutrition
Presented by Benchmarque Group & WA Primary Health Alliance
20 March
Sexual Health Fundamentals for Nurses and Midwives
Presented by ASHM
28 March
Mental Health Professionals’ Network’s 2023 National Online Conference
Presented by MHPN
28 to 30 March
Practice Assist acknowledges and pays respect to the Traditional Owners and Elders of this country and recognises the significant importance of their cultural heritage, values and beliefs and how these contribute to the positive health and wellbeing of the whole community.

While the Australian Government Department of Health has contributed to the funding of this website, the information on this website does not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Government and is not advice that is provided, or information that is endorsed, by the Australian Government. The Australian Government is not responsible in negligence or otherwise for any injury, loss or damage however arising from the use of or reliance on the information provided on this website.